The cryptocurrency world is hugely influenced by countries passing regulations associated with the use of digital currencies. The prices of Bitcoin and other altcoins fluctuate each time there is news about new regulations or laws being passed, regardless of where in the world such developments are occurring.
With different countries looking to create regulatory frameworks around this asset class, the recent news emerging from Spain has been mostly positive so far. The country is among the few to show an inclination towards blockchain and its many benefits. Legislations are in the pipeline, which may make Spain one of the few crypto-havens in the Eurozone.
The Much-Awaited Legislation
Spain’s financial regulator is looking into legislations that will allow the approval of funds for direct crypto investments. In May 2018, reports had emerged that a draft legislation was being created, which would favourably regulate blockchain technology. The legislation has also received a good response from the Spanish Parliament or Cortes Generales.
You might remember that the Spanish parliament, under the previous government, had been taking a pro-crypto stance. It considered blockchain to be a cost-efficient, decentralised system for transactions. In the absence of a defining regulatory framework on blockchain in the Eurozone, the parliament aimed to get the country’s national securities market regulator, CNMV, to include the asset class in its own securities regulatory framework.
In the past, the CNMV specified that the Law 22/2014 allowed investing in cryptocurrencies through closed-end collective investment entities (EICC), closed-end investment funds (FICC) and closed-end investment companies (SICC).
New regulations for blockchain and associated crypto investments will work to create a sense of confidence among investors, while helping to prevent the entry of bad actors in the field. This could be good news for the future of ICOs.
Along with crypto-related legislation, a bill aimed at wooing blockchain companies also made headlines earlier in the year. The bill focused on fostering blockchain tech and growth by offering specific tax benefits.
The recent deposing of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the toppling of the People’s Party government has created some uncertainty regarding the passing of the bill. But the Spanish parliament is making efforts regarding this. Spain could be a pioneer in creating the safest framework in Europe for investments in ICOs.
Santander’s Role as a Blockchain Proponent
Santander, the largest bank in Spain, is also perhaps one of the biggest proponents of blockchain technology. At its last Annual General Meeting, held in May 2018, shareholders cast their votes using blockchain. The technology was used to create a “shadow digital register,” which allowed shareholders to see how the votes were being registered and counted, thereby establishing transparency. The new voting system also made the whole process quicker and slicker.
The bank has been one of the early adopters of blockchain technology. It has partnered in the Ripple cryptocurrency network, which aims to replace the traditional “Swift” system of money transfer.
Barcelona’s Blockchain Centre
On May 24, 2018, reports emerged that Barcelona Tech City, which was opened in 2016, is planning to include a specialised space for blockchain tech development. This space would most likely be taken up by Spanish blockchain network, Alastria.
Alastria, a non-profit blockchain consortium, was publicly presented in October 2017. The multi-sector organisation boasts experts from the fintech, telecommunication and energy industries. It has also tied up with many universities. Some of the biggest names in the corporate world, including Accenture, Fujitsu, SAP and Santander, figure in its long list of partners.
The consortium has also been in touch with representatives from the government regarding training sessions and future collaborations. Alastria will help companies launch their blockchain projects, facilitating tokenisation and multi-sector innovation.
With appropriate regulations in place and companies like Alastria in the foreground, Spain will likely be able to secure a privileged position in the world as a blockchain pioneering country. It will attract capital and future blockchain-based projects. Many ICO operators and innovative technology developers might relocate there. This is a welcome sign for the crypto world, given that other developed countries, such as the United States, are taking a tough stance on ICOs.
Of course, the future isn’t set in stone, but Spain is certainly a country to keep an eye on for significant crypto/blockchain developments.